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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 13, 2012 10:00am-11:15am EDT

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different institutions in a very different type of culture. personally i doubt there's much chance of that america is after all what it is. >> you can watch this and other programs online apple tv.org. >> former "l.a. times" chief terrorism reporter josh meyer talks about the decade-long search for khalid sheikh mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks next on booktv.
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>> it was a lot easier to talk to some people about this. there were several that were concerned about it. but i remember that before 9/11, for instance, i was only allowed to use one author per story because my editors thought it would be too confusing. it was actually hard to get some of the stories on the front page. i remember doing one in the summer of 2001 about how al qaeda had changed its focus and appeared to be intent on attacking inside of the function the united states. they didn't want to put it on the front page. 9/11 happened 10 or 11 weeks later. ever since then, i have been following al qaeda and terrorism as much as peter has.
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starting in 2002, i got a tip. we mentioned this in the prologue of the book. i was in a bar in new york city talking to a bunch of agents who were from the fbi task force there. in comes the bomb squad, who were the investigators to the 9/11 plot. after we were talking about terrorism, because they couldn't talk about investigation, i said give me a table or it leads go on. one of them said, he looked around and said in a stage whisper, gentoo. i wrote it on a cocktail napkin and started making calls the next day. the reason i mention this, writing about all of jim al qaeda and osama bin laden, ksm already unction always stood out as much more different than the others. he seemed more politically oriented than others.
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he liked to have a good time come he had a sense of humor come he was much more organized. gsm was the one who is traveling around the world getting things done, doing things and it just really fascinated me. it was about 18 months after 9/11 when he was finally brought to ground. i've started thinking of 2002. how did he get away with it for so long and what was he doing all that time? so that was the just for my book. we did a very long profile of him back in 2002. this is before ksm was caught. we talked to people who were involved in the chase and we talked to a isi top officials.
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to try to get a sense of what was happening. i have been following the case on and on ever since. to talk about the book, you know, some of the things that we touch on in the book -- how officials in the department of justice in the years before 9/11, actually undermined -- actually underlined ksm after they identified him as one of the financiers of the first world trade center attacks. and that quickly led to ramsey usef. they almost caught him in 1996.
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a cat chasing him, but somehow or another, he disappeared and went into afghanistan. one of the big failures to connect the dots in the 9/11 attacks, which i think we tried to articulate in the book is how do they not make the content unsent connection that ksm was part of al qaeda. there is a speaker here speaking in this form, and he was one of the people that said we have no idea that gentoo is part of al qaeda until march or april of 2002 when they caught [inaudible name] in pakistan. almost by chance,, literally by chance, he identified they identified him as a guy they were looking for. so we tried to go back and tell this is a story. peter and some in the audience have read books on terrorism. what we didn't want to do is force upon the public another town of -- i don't want to
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discredit or criticize those books -- they are very important books, but we wanted to tell a story about the hunt for ksm and the people chasing him. it was not an unintended consequence, but it was through the investigation we were really able to tell the story of how 9/11 came to be and how people mistake and having missed the attack. in one of the ways they do that was the fbi people that were chasing ksm in the late '90s, they really got sideways with their bosses because they were focusing on what was seen to be a cool case, an isolated case connected to some terrorist plots in malaysia, excuse me, manila and the philippines in the mid- 1990s. it was a plot to blow up 12 airliners in midair as they were flying across the atlantic to the united states. they were going to kill the pope, to kill president clinton. by 1998, certainly, even the new york field office is focused on
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osama bin laden and al qaeda is so much that ksm fell by the wayside. the cia, too, had a bin laden on ksm because he was not considered to be al qaeda. the rendition unit that was chasing him was in charge of his portfolio, they didn't have the analytical capabilities of the bin laden folder did. he himself is a clever and charismatic guy he had as many as 60 aliases that he built and can travel. one of the most important things we talk about in the book is that ksm was instrumental in a lot of things besides 9/11. he helped spearhead an underground railroad of al qaeda people right after 9/11.
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it was his connections with the chapati underworld that really helped transport regroup in pakistan. as most of you in this audience know, bin laden and many of his core inter- circle were saudis and egyptians. it is hard for them to operate in a place like pakistan. they are at the mercy of their hosts. ksm was really a link for them in the militant groups. that is how they were able to survive. it was after ksm was caught but they went to the tribal areas. in part because they felt like the cities, were sort of hospitable to them at that point. they were inhospitable to them. i actually wrote something that was eight pages, but you don't want to hear all of us. i think the best information comes out during questions. a lot of the information in the book is terrorism driven.
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there was a guy who thought that when i was writing a book about this, the people that i was focusing on in the fbi and the seat -- cia, that i was going to criticize them sharply for what they did. in reporting this, what we found is that a small group of people that were chasing these guys from 93 on, really, in some ways were true american heroes in the sense that they were trying to do everything that they could to catch them. they ran into obstacles from within the fbi. they ran into obstacles from the cia. certainly from the governments of pakistan, they were not helpful in the request but there were a lot of reasons why they were not hot. i know that these agents, in particular, had many sleepless nights because they wonder which questions they should've asked
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should have asked but didn't and who they should've talked to. anyway, i hope you read the book. there is a lot of information that takes too long to explain now, but the creative techniques that they use. they followed one guy around for years in the mid- 1990s and were able to get a hotel room below and above him and listen to him for years to see what he was saying. and i asked why they were following jamal kalifah cannot ksm. i also asked them how they knew that ksm was part of al qaeda. back then, there were a lot of different operations and different characters, and bin laden was only one of them and so was his organization. if there is one real take away from the book, it would be that it is not a monolithic organization like al qaeda is really dangerous, although
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certainly, bin laden was a force of nature and brought together all the groups that became al qaeda and was responsible for the plots. in many ways, it is a guy like khalid sheikh mohammed who can come out of nowhere, and he brought the plot to osama bin laden. he initially didn't think it was a good idea. ksm was fairly persistent. she wanted the -- he wanted the independence to do it the other way. he thought that al qaeda wouldn't have the backbone to do it, i guess is the best way to put it. in many ways, khalid sheikh mohammed, i don't think, gets the credit he deserves. as the single most deadly terrorists of our times, in terms of personally been responsible for executing the attacks.
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with that, it's best to answer questions about ksm's involvement versus by that you mean, it wasn't a good idea, that the tactics that ksm was suggesting, the strategic -- bin laden want to strategically check the united states right? these two guys had a lot of big egos. there was a lot of sizing each other up. many people told me that ksm was not sure that he wanted to work with bin laden. it was only after the embassy bombings bombings in africa that he said i'm going to try this again and we can work together. i think ksm has said this in guantánamo. i don't think he ever worked for him but he worked with him as an independent contractor.
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i think that khalid sheikh mohammed wanted 10 planes initially, but bin laden said it should be more manageable. there are some parts in the book, and i also wrote a little in the "los angeles times." i might've made reference to a dilbert cartoon because bin laden was meddling in certain he wanted the plot moved up to the summer of 2001. ksm said we want to wait until september because we should wait until congress is back in session. >> and he wanted to do the plot because [inaudible name] was in washington dc that time? >> i think so. there was a lot of pushing back and forth. the bottom line is that khalid sheikh mohammed just bought the plot wasn't ready.
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like any good manager, he was good at delegating responsibility. he was relying on mohammed atta to give him instructions. >> why did the cia takes a long, and [inaudible name] has a story susskind has a story about [inaudible] let's start with that. is that story true? >> i think it is in many respects. there are other things that are book differs from his book. i will leave it at that. but i think that we were able to get a broader picture by talking to a larger set of people than
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the cia. >> the owner of elvis era caused and tells him that i have a reporter and i'm giving you information about where he is. is that true? >> i don't know. >> my view is that it would be incredibly dangerous and damaging to al jazeera's reputation. >> i do know that is what i was starting to say. there was an ethical reporter and i don't think he would do that, but somehow or another the information was conveyed and it got to the cia. he reached a very important question, which was touted he
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find khalid sheikh mohammed? actually was the other way around. khalid sheikh mohammed sent out, basically invited yassari. he spent two days with them interviewing them and that just goes to show, to me how egotistical khalid sheikh mohammed is, but also how brazen he was. we talked to somebody who was familiar with that incident and said that ksm literally walks the reporter down on the stairs as he left, and you know, one thing that i've always remember that an isi person told me in 2002 was that the isi has pakistan so well covered that you can't smoke a cigarette on a street corner without us knowing
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what brand it is. i always remember that. if that was the case, then why couldn't you find these guys? >> i think that is overstating the capabilities. >> it took the cia tenures to find the modern but yet they frank pellegrino is one of the main characters in the books. tell us here is one of the leading experts on ksm who wasn't allowed to speak to khalid sheikh mohammed for many years. even though he was an american -- in american custody. >> as a great question. i think that that -- he was one of the most compelling figures for me in this whole thing. he's almost a figure of shakespearean tragedy, type proportions. he was very idiosyncratic of an
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agent, he was an accountant, decides to join the bureau. got his law degree in his early years, and was one of the man who was asked to cover the first world trade center investigation. because he was fairly new, he got assigned to follow a guide who didn't think was important at the time. he turned out to be ramsey yusef. rank is a very good agent. he's a very dogged agent. everybody described to me as saying well, you have to talk to frank and i would say well, describe him for me. and i said he's about as on non-fbi agent as you can get. he bucked authority, he actually got into a yelling match with john o'neill, the guy who has lionized and made into a hero
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for his single-minded pursuit for bin laden. his tamil vision on bin laden and al qaeda in the late 1990s made it hard for frank pellegrino and his partner to pursue their investigation for khalid sheikh mohammed. because he was not considered to be al qaeda. after 9/11, frank was in malaysia at the time. and we have seen what he has talked to his former partner. they knew immediately that it was an al qaeda attack. he wanted to join in the hunt. he was doing some counterterrorism work, but he was not allowed to pursue or join in this specific investigation with khalid sheikh mohammed. even more frustratingly, after ksm was caught, he tells his wife that they are going to really need me. he was summoned to the headquarters of washington. he drives down there, and they didn't use him in the interrogation of ksm. they also didn't use them in some of the information mining
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efforts. he's in the basement of the building when khalid sheikh mohammed was caught. he looked into the e-mails and other pieces of information and support. he said were you doing here? frank, you should be interrogating the sky. but i think that's the point -- >> but he wasn't allowed to interrogate ksm because the fbi wouldn't allow any fbi? >> yes, that speaks to the larger problem, which was the fbi and cia were at such odds with each other, they effectively took each other out of the interrogation regime because they didn't think that the story was very well told but they were they were using methods that were bordering on torture. the fbi would not let its agents allowed into these interrogations. i also think the cia went out of their way to try to do it themselves anyway.
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there's a lot of tension and conflict between the two agencies. the fbi, to a large degree, didn't play a role in any of the interrogations of these guys. i think that there were people at the highest levels at the fbi that are saying this is crazy. this guy blog 400,000 miles building and in criminal indictment of the sky. >> it happened in 2007 after ksm and others were brought to guantánamo. because of some adverse court opinions from the bush administration said well, we really need to do something here. we're probably going to have to build some sort of case against them. they sent in these fbi clean teams, these task force criminal investigators, to rebuild the cases. i think that is important. that is one of the building blocks is not the building block for the case that is going to be
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going forward in guantánamo. frank and other agents were able to interview a ksm and others down in guantánamo. there are some great scenes, if i may say so, about how frank finally gets to face off against his nemesis, khalid sheikh mohammed. in 2007. honestly, he has a lot of strong feelings for khalid sheikh mohammed, but he started by being friendly and open. the traditional way of the fbi building a rapport with their target. you want to be nice to them so they will talk to you. pellegrino explained to ksm that he was the guy chasing him in pakistan and the philippines and he looked at them and said, you are the one. he even told pellegrino that when they almost caught him in cutter in 1996, that ksm even knew what hotel that pellegrino was staying in.
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he relayed to someone when he left the interview, that it was chills going down his spine. he felt like he had been hunted instead of the hunter.c >> and is pellegrino still in the bureau? i would say that -- well, there to certain people at the fbi, do want the personage first page of the book to say that this is the book the fbi didn't want to read? because, part of it is institutional bureaucratic inertia, some is institutional resistance to talk to the press. but i would not say that the bureau was overly forthcoming in talking to us about it. in the end, we were able to get -- and also i think that part of it was they were concerned about the people involved in the investigation, you know, not compromising anything that could impact the prosecution in guantánamo.
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i would only add, actually i mean to speak cryptically, but you have to read the book to see who we ultimately talk to. i think we were successful in -- >> how useful was wikileaks in building up the story. it seems that there is a lot of material in there. >> we have to be careful about this. those documents are very valuable of a trove of information. some of that stuff can be obtained elsewhere through talking to people and things. but it was fortuitous that those documents had been released, i think. i think that they really helped show a picture of what was going on at the time. part of it, i think, was just -- the hard part is getting all of the different sides of the story the cia, fbi, the pakistan
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viewpoint -- i'm sure you knowi0 well or better than i do -- especially when you're talking about something that happened in pakistan, there are 15 different versions of what happened, including the capture of ksm. with the capture of ksm? out of that go down without giving much of the book? >> part of it is a success story of a cia. by that time, the fbi and cia were so much in conflict with each other that they were virtually not working together. in fact, he talked to the fbi, you will see that they played no role in the final capture of ksm. >> basically, there were a few personality driven. and you can read this in the got along very well. they work well together.
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it is unfortunate, because they happen at the same time in the really degraded to the point where the fbi believes that the looking for ksm's nephew in a back then, in terms of the final mohammed, i think part of it is they developed an informant whose very helpful in being able inserted into ksm's inner circle, and he led them to them. complicated to that. we go into some detail in the book about how they were using, particular kind cell phone that i think he thought was secure, but it turns
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secure? was in bulk and you don't have operational security. that is one of the reasons he somebody and you use it ramsey, that they took i believe it was good detective work. eavesdropping. i think the pakistanis help to certain degree. it was a combination of figures. in the end, and i think it this
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is where our book differs from the george tenet book, his books as the ksm grabbed a rifle and is that ksm was captured in his sleep, and that is one of the reasons he looks groggy in this photo. >> that was one really great piece of public diplomacy that the u.s. has ever done. that photo. >> that photo cause a lot of -- happens with pakistan, we spent an inordinate amount of time tracking down whether ksm was actually captured someone else and then bought that house. >> would you conclude? >> he was captured, and i think he was captured with the officials say he was, but christina lamb did a very good story about how she was taken to that house by the guys mother
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[inaudible name], and she said that there is no wall in the house except behind the one where he was photographed. how could he have been captured here? as we say in the book, the photo was taken when he was in the safe house when they wanted to muss up his appearance and take a photo that was less flattering than some of the other ones. i think that robert mueller once said about 9/11, he said this is one of those things where we will probably be finding out important pieces of information 30 years from now. you think you know the whole story, and it's going to take a really long time to find out everything. i don't think that we answered all the questions, but i think we answered the basic ones. i am still very curious as to how khalid sheikh mohammed was able to operate starting in 1990 or maybe 1991, certainly through
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1993 and then going back and forth from [inaudible name] to was. >> we can definitely open this up for questions. if you'd like to ask a question, please wait for the microphone. >> yes, you talked a bit about the plot on clinton and the pope. besides 9/11, can you give some sketch of what terrorism was carried out by ksm or any of them? did they reach fruition and were they successful? >> that is a very good question. i think even in the paper two days ago, a case that was the other shoe bomber -- he and richard reid were working directly for khalid sheikh mohammed. in terms of -- he was involved
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in a number of plots. a lot of them created, and i hate to keep referring to it, but we go into detail about which plots work in which demand. also, his mindset. he was literally coming up with plots all the time. someone work and someone in. i think one of his biggest -- i hate to use the word contribution, but one of the most important things he did was set up terrorism cells here and there. he was instrumental in helping in southeast asia and have a nexus with them. i think he helped finance the bali bombings. it was a synagogue off the coast of tunisia. i think that there was a lot of information that we have that he was directly were some of his lieutenants were involved in the saudi arabia bombings of 2003.
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where then peter and i had a nice lunch one day in one of the royal families big dining halls. later, just in the reporting of this book, we came to realize one of the names. some of the people that had been working for ksm or involved in this book. the plot against the pope and against president clinton -- it's hard to tell how close to fruition they were. i do know that when they searched the room where they were plotting all of this, which caught fire, serendipity for law enforcement -- they found ropes and other things that indicated they were trying to get close. they had picked an apartment that was on the route that the motorcade would go through. they were certainly -- what's
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the word?4h eager to try to do this. >> what do you assess ksm's main ovations to be? >> that is one of the fascinating things. >> if and when it happens, is how eager ksm is to tell the world what his motivations are. i think that that is one reason verbatim transcript at the back of his very long soliloquy at one time only 2008. to me, he was much more laden, -- >> political and secular -- nationally, very zionist. >> exactly. bin laden had political issues too. i think that ksm was a more secular guy. he is not what you would call a radical, firebreathing
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fundamentalists. when he was in the philippines, they were toys that he would hang out in karaoke bars. >> you think those are accurate? >> i was just going to get to that. it is hard to tell if he was using that as part of his cover or whether he really enjoyed himself. i talked to one person who said that all the times he was in the philippines, heat shrink a nonalcoholic beer. whatever, he was enthusiastically pursuing that persona. one of the most fascinating thing that we got was one of the ways that they tracked ksm to cutter. he really liked one of the bargirls in the philippines, and so he would send her letters and cards and things. he sent her a christmas card from i think it was from a one year. frank pellegrino and his buddy who was a port authority detective, matthew bashir, they went back and forth and did a lot of dogged police work. they would go back and talk to the bargirls and their families. when they were talking to the mother of a bar girl. she said i have some letters to
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my daughter. one of them, a couple of them were from khalid sheikh mohammed. address which was whited out. they sent it to an fbi lab. sure enough, the return address was the ministry of water and electricity in cutter. that is one of the ways that he liked women enough to pursue that kind of thing. i think it is part of what a complex character he is. when they caught ramzi [inaudible name] in 2002, they found a suitcase with a lot of khalid sheikh mohammed's belongings. they found photos of him playing very recent. all the while, he is this the terrorist mastermind. he did try to make time to have ball of contradictions. i don't know if that answers your question. >> tell everybody the nearest
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point -- and maybe ksm had been found that maybe 9/11 would've operated differently -- what happened? >> i believe that 9/11 never would've happened if ksm had been caught. clearly, al qaeda would've had other plots and attacks, but this was ksm's baby and his plot became out of the attacks. excuse me, the plot in manila, and there was good work by the fbi and cia. he was working for the ministry of water and electricity in cutter. one of the members of the family in cutter had i don't know if it's a guaranteed employment program, but he had brought a lot of the [inaudible name] and drop them onto cutter just because he thought they were an important service to be his lot unsent islamic world. it is clearly using his job as a bureaucrat as a cover and was
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traveling around the world. the fbi very much wanted to get him when they were there. we have a letter from louis freeh at the time that was e-mailing -- excuse me, writing that cup onto cutter government as we say in the book, there was a lot of back-and-forth. ultimately, instead of doing a snatch and grab, or even pushing it out -- they were trying to find a way to get them to fly out of the country so they could grab them in another country. they were working on that but ultimately, u.s. government decided to go and ask the cutter government and a lot of people warned them that that wasn't a good idea. it turns out that it wasn't. frank pellegrino and some others and agents -- they were on the ground and cutter trying to get
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ksm. door. >> i'm in the project and government oversight. we've got a book coming out in the very near future by josé rodriguez talking about the utility of interrogation techniques. he was part of the cia to interrogation detainees. i believe he is personally there with khalid sheikh mohammed. what do we know about the interrogation of khalid sheikh mohammed -- obviously the book is about the hunt, but what do we know about the interrogation, if anything, or whether the indications? were due to take place?
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didn't save many lives? didn't warn us about future attacks or what was the utility of that exercise? >> i would say that our book -- and i haven't read his book, although i do love the title, i would say that their book differs. we did focus on the hunt, but we do go into some detail about khalid sheikh mohammed time in custody. i think that if you talk to some people that were involved in this, there was a feeling that he was very practiced in counterintelligence in counter interrogation. he was very good at knowing the limits of waterboarding and other tactics and that he provided them with a tremendous amount of noninformation. i think he provided them with a lot of information from it if you really look at it, the tax
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of saudi arabia were in may 2003. it was right after he was captured. you had other attacks that followed shortly thereafter that. even in the years after that, they were linked to people who work closely with ksm. you have to think that he knew about those attacks. if you didn't say anything about them, nobody has told me that. it didn't lead to them stopping the plots or to the capture of bin laden or the number two. we were able to confirm that ksm did meet with [inaudible name] the day before he was captured. he clearly knew where bin laden0 and his second in command were. [inaudible name] was one of the guys working very closely with ksm. i will have to read peter's book to see -- yap, yap. i believe he was one of the protéges. i think that all of that
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information, he certainly had its head. everything that i understand, whether it is to see what is0 coming back and people that were involved -- he did not give up that kind of information. i don't know how successful it was. >> [inaudible question] >> if we contrast what you just said what the latter phase to that began in 2007 when they brought in frank pellegrino to do the clean team cleanup, to produce evidence that might be useful in a legal prosecution,. >> right. >> conducted by this country -- of course, by then, all the attacks and this and that header
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to happen. but what about the clean team exercise? he stopped obfuscating, to some extent, as far as we know, or what happened then? >> again, in terms of operational intelligence and whether you can use it to stop plots -- i mean, i think they talk to somebody in 2007 after they had been in custody since 2003 -- at that point they were just trying to build a case against him. but i think one of the things that is most important, which we can try to make is a point in the book, one of the things it is freakily in order, is that it is not just the type of interrogation measures were methods you're using, it is who is doing the interrogating. what would never seem to make sense to me, and i know that a
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lot of fbi agents have been screaming about this for years, even if the cia brought in these contract interrogators to do this, they had no background knowledge of al qaeda or who the players were. when the fbi interrogates ahmadi, they know everybody who is in your network, what you're back story is, how the various parts work together, and you need that. that we can tell they are lying or not or what question to ask. so what they think is that even if the waterboarding and the other methods they were using on ksm work, they didn't know what questions to ask. >> i've heard that described as the tell me what i want to know interrogation. >> a lot of people would come in and repeat the same question over and over and it was actually like, well, you know what we want. and they'd be like no, actually i don't.
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to me, and as we say in the book, there were three different organizations that were desperately -- they were reading the cables coming back when ksm was being interrogated. they were saying either he is making this stuff up or you're not asking the right questions. that was the 9/11 commission, which was by then was ardie investigating and had some very smart, experienced people on that. it was the criminal investigative task force at one time of who is reading the traffic and saying you have to ask them that. for some reason, i'm forgetting what the third one was. it was either the fbi or the -- whatever. these three entities were saying, look, you are not getting the right information you need to ask better questions. that those -- that even after that they were not getting the right information out of him.
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>> you just said something which i found rather disturbing. a guy like khalid sheikh mohammed can come out of nowhere. now, bin laden is dead and the middle ranks of al qaeda have been decimated by the predators. but i know that it is full of smart guys through bombay and the bombay bombing, it shows a transitional -- a trans-atlantic reach. how can we identify and prevent such a threat? >> that is a great question, david. one of the most intriguing people that i have focused on since 2006, at the time i didn't even notice was one of ksm's
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protéges, but ksm really like people he thought could function in free world. three worlds, -- [inaudiblex name] spoke english and arabic. -- people like that, i forget if he grew up in the city of graz in florida. but he was born in saudi arabiaz i forget my own reporting on that. i spent three weeks inz miami riding on him in 2006.z there are a lot of people thatz? they have out there that they're still worried about, but you can just come out of nowhere on you? own or from the internet. i think that the mumbai attacks were extremely disconcerting.
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comes along very often. a guy like that. somebody who has a obsession with attacking the united states and in very creative and new ways. t be from al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, or someone like [inaudible name] in texas who gets radicalized on the internet. >> there were 16 people on the no-fly list, now there are 21 -- there is a huge amount of intellectual financial effort looking at this question. ksm presumably, and it did take a while, it seems implausible that there would be someone who had a big network that wasn't on the radar.
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>> i think that al qaeda -- i'd like to call these spectaculars -- it's hard to be one of those now, especially in the united states. damage as an individual doing some kind of attack. i remember right after 9/11, i got a call from some racing that if you took out a chlorine tank in the united states with a rocket propelled grenade, you could kill a lot of people, -- >> the interesting thing is it it has never happened. >> right. and i remember thinking what do i even want to write that story? i don't want to give people an idea. >> now you just told an audience of 7000 on c-span. >> right. [laughter] [laughter] >> the lady in the front? >> just wonder, the fbi, cia,
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everywhere -- even people are in los angeles [inaudible] -- what can they stop al qaeda or ksm -- their activities -- but from the beginning, and is there anything else that they tried to hide -- all the staff, and did they hate americans or any country? they wanted to fight against -- [inaudible] do they know where they -- or some of them who [inaudible] all these years of war -- [inaudible] >> why couldn't they find out that these guys were planning the attacks? >> well, i think there's a lot of ink that has been spilled on that.
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that is one of the reasons why we wrote the book. i think that is why peter wrote the longest war. the history of this is not finished. i think that the 9/11 commission did a great report, but that was in 2004 think that the people that wrote that will be the first to admit that they didn't have access to certain documents and officials admit the history changes. i think we are still trying to find that out. but i think that people like khalid sheikh mohammed fell through the cracks and some of the problems that were in place back then are still there now. >> what happens with ksm on may may 5, at guantánamo, and will you be involved in covering that? >> yes, i'm hoping to -- there are 60 slots for journalists. i think that there are 800 people that are applying and soq forth. but yes, i certainly plan to follow it whether i am there in guantánamo in spirit or not. >> and at fort meade?
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>> well, i've talked to some people recently that have said, you know, we need as much transparency for this file as we can. this is our nürnberg trial in:' our way to have a fitting end to the 9/11 era and really put into public record, you know, what happened. the government really has never done that where they have done a formal sort of document of everything they know about 9/11. i think that the american public is waiting for that and it deserves that. i was at the la times for 20 years. in one of the cases i covered was o.j. simpson. what i like to tell people is that it that was the trial of the century -- the last century and you can have every minute televised, there are some complications about televising the trial with all the national security issues. we do it on a delay and have a mechanism in place so you give the public a view of what happened in the trial and what happened in 9/11 it in a way
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that does not compromise national security. i'd love to see that. i don't think it's going to happen. >> should the trial of happened in europe where the crimes happened? >> as they were reporter, try to be objective about that. >> but you just wrote a book and so -- >> yes, that's true.t0q0 [laughter] >> so many told me i'd been promoted. >> no, i think so. >> i was there in the summer of 2001 when the trials were taking place. i actually just wrote an op-ed piece. i forgot how torturous it is to get at op-ed piece published. was there in 2001 watching the embassy bombings trial. they brought in witnesses from nairobi and from the two sides with the embassies were attacked. families and they brought in tons of witnesses. they introduced the mountains of information. there were people in the courtroom to point to them and
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say, from the witness stand, those are the guys that i sawn the site, and i think at the enú of that coming you come you really have a sense that justice was done. >> was any national security information come out of the trial? did any come out that was not supposed to? and what was the sentences of the people involved. >> i think it was 240 years each. >> and you've got to hear from the terrorists themselves about why they did it. i think some people are afraid that if ksm -- that he would use the trial -- i hate to use the term hijack the trial, but he would use the child to tell people why he did it. he will use the trial to tell people why he did it. i think that the people know -- people are smart enough to know how self-serving inez.
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by hiding him for so long and refusing to bring him into the light, it is a mythical persona. i personally feel that the absolute worst thing he could do is execute these guys. they will then become the martyrs that they are trying to become. >> what is very interesting, though, and we always say that, but i don't think it's true. is bin laden a big martyr right now? it hadn't happened. the only martyr i can think of is [inaudible name], when it is one of these people on the fighting side and the religious side -- there seem to live on as martyrs. >> well, i think that there are some people who will look at the modern step as sort of a cause for continuing the jihad. i would ask most people if you
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know what is up with ramsey yusef. he has been locked away in the prison in, you know, in colorado in maximum security for so long, but he's disappeared from the public consciousness. >> so he has been buried alive? >> yes. somebody told me that they went to visit ramsey yusef and they said frank pellegrino says hello. and he said tell frank i said hi. [laughter] these agents spend so much time with them in court. he really got to know them. i think that is important that you know your enemy, not just keep them at a 30,000 foot distance. >> any questions? this gentleman over here. >> the details -- you know that's true if he was waterboarding 140 times? and if it is true, how could he survive such a treatment?
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>> i think the official number is 183. and that it happened over it. of several months. if you do the math, that is -- but one thing that i don't think the public really is aware of, is what does that mean? if you are lying down and they pour water on you, four times in one session, is that for water boards or one water board? i think the bottom line is that -- and we have a scene in the book about this, about how ksm is ticking off his fingers as they are waterboarding him -- because you know it's going to stop at a certain point. whatever you think of waterboarding, they were applying the technique so carefully that somebody like ksm could know that they can only take you to a certain point. i don't know if that was the hundred 82nd timer -- if you water board somebody any more than 20 or 30 times, i think
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end. but who knows. i was not there in the room. it is a very controversial personally, i think that one of the most debilitating taxes to use is sleep deprivation. i don't know anybody who has not slept for three days, but i saw some video of ksm being interrogated after two or three days after he was captured and six and a half days straight, i think -- yeah, they have people who have a lot of money to figure that it out that it is 11 the exact number. there is number that you were supposed to stop and give them a pill and let them go to sleep. >> what was your own assessment of the extent to which the
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pakistanis help with the arrest or capture of ksm? >> you mean the hunt for him are the very final steps? >> having been in pakistan in 2002, -- let's take a step back. i think one of the things about writing a book that is different than writing new stories, the more you report something, the more the black-and-white issues become gray, and there is a lot of nuances and complications. one thing that we found is that you cannot say that the pakistan government was working with the even though there are elements within the isi -- certainly, our liaison to these groups in a sense helped create, train, and fund them with their help back when we were fighting the soviets, when the soviets invaded afghanistan, i think what we found was that there
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were a core of very dedicated pakistanis who are working very hard to work with the united states to capture these guys. we have a couple of what i think are the best scenes in the book where this port authority cop died in 9/11 and they brought his handcuffs and they were engraved with his name on them, and they brought them to pakistan at his widow's request. and they said use these on the bad guys. some of the pakistanis looked at a talisman of good luck. they knew that the guy had a daughter that was born after he died. it became personal to them that they were helping find the people who did this. there were a lot of people who are trying very hard. there was one kernel we talk about in the book was extremely instrumental in working to catch
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these guys. they even brought them back to the united states and brought them to spend a couple of days getting drunk and dashed. >> you was he working for the eisai or intelligence bureau? >> they have a specific branch that deals with internal and external threat. there is one branch that is dedicated as the handlers of the secretary and groups. these guys were the local authorities they were in a different section. your assessment as to summarizes that the pakistanis were somewhat helpful? >> some of them were. there are many instances in the book were even this one would work very closely with the fbi for instance.
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even when the kernel is helping, when he telegraphed other people that he was going to do this, that other people would be more effective at being helpful than he was acting helpful. it is comforting to come my i guess is the best way to put it. >> are there questions? >> in 2006, some officials were instrumental in training members which was a responsibility for abducting the commander and the country. at what point were the pakistanis getting out of after he was captured? the second question is did he actually orchestrate and tell
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his nephew to marry is there anything in your book that says something about that? >> that was something -- there was a lot of -- the way terri terry and i split it up is that and maybe i shouldn't say this, but i go with law enforcement or intelligence. kerry dealt with a lot of ksm and his family. but i looked into the this issue. looking into networks that help al qaeda and the front organization for the isi, people that are working with the militant groups. it was one of the things that i was never a real to penetrate, but i would love to talk to you about it afterwards. i think there is a lot there. there also two organizations --
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one in pakistan and iran. [inaudible name] he is a neuroscientist who became -- somehow became connected to al qaeda. she was on the fbi's radar screen. we go into some detail in the book. she was helping with jake on and other people that were in ksm's network of american sleeper agents, set up. they set up a beachhead in the united states through which they could mount attacks. she appears to have been helpful to al qaeda in the united states. as you know, she allegedly married ksm's nephew [inaudible name]. even the people that i know that
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were in charge of investigating a lot of this stuff, i don't think they know a lot of answers to it. i did not know that ksm officiated at their wedding, but i do know that he was closely connected to those people. in the book we have [inaudible name] who is going to be the guy who is testifying against ksm. one of the guys in guantánamo who spends a lot of time in maryland. he called ksm his uncle. there is some information that we could not fit in the book about how much time and effort ksm's been in improving people and radicalizing them and urging them to try to come over to the jihad he sighed. i don't know if that is a good answer, but i think that clearly ksm was in that kind of situation. obviously he knew his nephew.
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whether the marriage was arranged or something to help her when she joined the al qaeda forces, but i don't know. >> any other questions? i think we will wrap it up then. thank you very much for coming. thank you, josh, for a very interesting presentation. [applause] [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at "book tv" at c-span.org. works we guess at twitter.com/"book tv." >> this is what he said, that that was not their intent and that was made brutally clear to me that one of the offices -- one of the officers suddenly
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kicked me, smashing my job. it felt like somebody had taken a baseball bat to my head before i could even register that unbearable pain, one of the other officers slammed me in the lower leg at the time. i heard a crack. i immediately pleaded with melanie, who was one of the arresting officers but who at that point had become an guardian angel. she was different from the west. i know this is going to sound kind of strange, but up until that point i had felt safe with her there at the scene, sort of a maternal presence that would not allow things to get too out of control. i shouted out to her. you don't have to do this. tell them they don't have to do this. >> going to that story, when i was initially pulled over, i had a job to go to that monday.
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it was going to pay way more money than i was working at the dodgers stadium. they called in other states will need to be to go to work on monday. so when i heard that, i got a few beers and went to my buddies house. i didn't let him i was going to be going to work, i didn't know how he would feel about that. it was all good. we were on the way and my dad used to take us to shame. near an area where we grew up that. so we started out over there the only thing i could think about is that job. i have to make it to his job on
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monday. i know i've been drinking, and i'm on parole, i have to get away. >> that's a long ways away. >> yes, when you come out of prison and you he really tried to do the right thing, and then all of a sudden you know your whole world is about to stop, that is the only thing i can think of. i lost the highway patrol car. what happened was that helicopter was up there. people were getting away from the helicopter. my goodness, so -- >> what you did think for a minute that you would outrun them? >> yes. >> were you driving a hyundai? >> yes, hyundai xl. >> the joke here is that, in mr. king doesn't know this, but i was pushing a hyundai at the time. it was an xl gl.
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it had a little turbo pack on it. i used to drive it from chicago to college home. in the allegheny mountains. it wouldn't get past 55 miles an hour. they wouldn't get past 55. >> so you were thinking you were in a hot rod, but you are really in a hyundai? >> exactly. to my surprise, they caught up with me. [laughter] [laughter] when they caught up with me, i could see them pull over on the side and say, it looks like [bleep]. pull over. so i had to think. i had to think fast. i said, okay, i ardie know that beating is coming after this chase. that is how it goes. unfortunately, that's how it's been over the years. i was looking for a well lit area to stop. where i chose to stop, there was
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a place where nobody was at. i said to myself, well, if i get out here and it goes badly, maybe some people come outside. sure enough, they went back. she ordered me out of the car. there was a husband and wife team. the highway patrol -- the initial ones on the chase. she came over to me and they had already ordered me out of the car. your right hand right hand and your left hand, put them up, and lay down. so i did that. she got my wallet out of my back pocket so that she could get my identification. while she is looking at that, they popped the trunk and went to get the baton out of the car. as she's walking way, i said i'm laying on the floor. facedown -- and i said hey, tell them they don't have to do this.
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because i ardie know what's going to happen. so when she walked away, her husband locked up and just like -- boom. kicked me in the temple area and broke my jaw. then he asked me, how do you feel? my morale was broken everything. the only thing is not let this guy know he got the best of me, which she did. i said i feel fine. jaw broken coming out, i guess the sergeant heard that. sergeant kunz, so he comes out and just teasers me right away. and i'm being chased. he is lighting me up. i feel the blood coming out of my mouth. he asked me how you feel now? and i couldn't say anything. he said were going to kill you, ron.
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so i tried to run. i hesitated for a second, and i'm just looking for a clearance at that point. i'm looking for clarence. when i see the clearance, excuse me, when i see the clearance, it was between a hyundai and the police officer. so what i did was, i got up to go one, but but this leg -- one win in front of me, i didn't know it was broke. so the leg just went down. when i fell down, it looked like i was able to go after him in the camera, but i was trying to get my hands in front of me. that's when the video had been running maybe about 15 -- but what he didn't catch is the teasers.
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the teaser guns. he did that in three guns. he did that all in three shots. while he is using the teaser guns, he is beating me with a baton and telling me to stay still. there is no way you can stay still with those kind of bull running through your body. i am soaked in blood with electricity hitting me at the same time. i'm feeling like i am almost catching on fire. two minutes later, i was going to take a bath and dry off. he had an extension cord waiting for me. it sounds like -- it seemed like he had repaired me for that. being hit with the teaser guns
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the same feeling as -- it's a horrible feeling. when i felt that, it was like 20 times of an extension cord will ping. the guy that would run the teaser guns -- he i am regrouping myself trying to see if i'm still there. i'm trying to stay still, but i can't, excuse me, so the guy starts beating these more because i moved. i can hear him calling you names. ..
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